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Meaningful Volunteer Opportunity?


To find out more, register for an upcoming Orientation!
Call 331-6837


Empowering People Through Literacy

I've worked with my English language learner for two years now. Her young daughter is almost always present, and the two of them are a joy and a delight!

Half the time we meet at the local library; the rest of the time we branch out into having English conversation while walking around the neighborhood, watching the daughter at athletic events, going to the Children's Museum, eating out--we try to mix it up.

We even took the intrepid daughter to a climbing wall for the first time in her life, and she was a natural, climbing one of the tallest adult walls within the first hour. All of these real life experiences give her mother and I the opportunity to practice a broad spectrum of English.

We also spend a good deal of time navigating paperwork--from the daughter's school, from community agencies, from service providers, and the like. As much as a tutor, my learner needs an advocate. We bundle her practical needs with the practice of English.

Personally this relationship has been invigorating to my life. This mother-daughter pair is so loving and kind, to one another and to everyone else. We laugh a lot together. Lastly, seeing the challenges they go through gives me a healthy, continuous perspective on my privileges!

I love being a tutor with ULA.  Although I'm not a teacher and have never volunteered prior to this, I feel extremely confident because of the commitment of their tutor trainers, their comprehensive certificate program and the ongoing support I receive.  I look forward to meeting with my learner each week - I especially enjoy hearing about their background and culture.  It's been a great experience so far!

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Welcome to the Ulster Literacy Association - ULA

Se habla español   331-6837   Lunes-Viernes 3:00-5:00 p.m.

Agency Background

At Ulster Literacy, we have been providing our neighbors with one-to-one free tutoring in basic reading and writing skills as well as teaching English as a new language for over 35 years.

We always have a long list of learners eager to better their lives by improving their literacy and language skills - not so surprising, since there are many adults in Ulster County who cannot read above a fifth-grade level, and many new immigrants trying to learn English.

Coming to ULA is perhaps the most important step towards the future success of our learners.

Overall, ULA serves nearly 400 students annually through the following programs:

Basic reading, writing & math

ULA tutors teach adults basic language skills in a one-to-one setting for two hours weekly on average.  Our approach is learner centered and our mission is to ensure learners meet their personal and professional goals.  Some are working toward their high school equivalency, others are getting a driver's license, some want to read to their children or write letters, and others are working on job applications or citizenship.

Tutors provide instruction, support and encouragement to students who come from all over the world as well as right here in Ulster County.

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program RSVP logo

ULA is now the RSVP station of Ulster County.

RSVP is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over, is federally funded, and ULA has brought it back to Ulster County.

As the RSVP of Ulster County, ULA provides volunteer opportunities for our retired and/or senior residents.  With tutor training sessions throughout the county, you can learn to teach an adult to improve their English language skills right in your own hometown.  You can help build strong community bonds with your neighbors by sharing the skills, talents, and wisdom you have acquired over the years, and gain personal enrichment serving members of your immediate community.

Many of our tutors report feeling less isolated and more creatively engaged in their lives by joining other RSVP volunteers for parties, in-service trainings and recognition events.

Corrections Program

The ULA Corrections program has been providing criminal offenders at the local Ulster County Correctional Facility with opportunities to learn to use computer programs, improve their writing, and gain basic life skills such as financial and health literacy.  This program delivers high-quality instruction with sufficient rigor to people looking to improve their lives through education, stay out of jail, and find and keep a good job.

English as a new language - listening, understanding and speaking

ULA tutors work with people from all over the world who are learning English as a new language.  In addition to the one-to-one setting, small group classes are also available in several workplaces, local schools, and libraries.  We believe in academic studies as well as exploring the socio-cultural components of language. 

Become a volunteer tutor

People who choose to become a volunteer tutor at Ulster Literacy find an opportunity to engage in an immensely helpful and satisfying endeavor. 

After completing an 18-hour, nationally certified training course with ULA, each tutor is carefully matched with a learner.  We ask that each tutor commit to a year's service, if possible.

Learners and tutors typically meet once a week for at least an hour in a public space, such as the ULA offices, a local library (we have our own office at the Kingston Library), church or diner.

No teaching experience is necessary.  If you are interested in sharing your love of reading, writing and language with a motivated student, become a part of Ulster literacy association.

To get started, please call our office at 331-6837 to register for an upcoming Orientation.